NAB Challenge: Tigers beat slipshod Cats as car horns toot

By Susie Giese

Tigers fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Season 2010 is looking considerably brighter following Richmond’s 51-point demolition of a lacklustre Geelong, who look like they already have not one, but both eyes on Round 1.

This was not a game for the ages, and the sooner it is lost in the annals of history the better. Both teams put in scrappy performances, but the Tigers were the only group who remembered it is generally a good idea to score once in a while.

In the end, a near full-strength Richmond, desperate for a win of any description, outclassed a fifth-rate Geelong outfit, which was missing a host of stars: Ablett, Selwood, Hawkins, Mooney, Taylor, Johnson, Mackie, Corey, Rooke, Ling and Blake (who, though a poor player, is a brilliant tap ruckman) to be exact.

Early concerns about the quality of the ground’s surface were quickly put to rest by the K-Rock team, who proclaimed the ground “superb” and in much better nick that Etihad stadium.

Play was less than a minute in before K-Rock’s Ben Casanelia took a swipe at the work of journalists this preseason: “James Podsiadly’s been quiet early, no touches.” A light-hearted comment at the time, it soon evolved into an uncomfortably accurate assessment of the Geelong team as the game wore on. What was expected to be a cakewalk soon became a desperate struggle just to reach the forward line.

Troy Taylor, it seemed, was destined to get the first goal of the game, and finally managed to do so on his third attempt. His first shot inexplicably missed the lot from 15 metres out on no angle (though the K-Rock team may not have been entirely accurate in this assessment). A minute later, he was gifted another shot from a Geelong indiscretion, but the decision was almost immediately reversed when Tom Hislop lay an errant elbow into Jeremy Laidler. They say third time is the charm.

Richmond started the game aggressively, and it was only through the tireless efforts of Geelong’s backline that the game was not over by quarter-time.

While the commentators continued to struggle over Podsiadly’s name, Geelong struggled to get the ball into their forward fifty. Time and time again, sloppy disposals were turned over as the opposition’s relentless tackling exposed Geelong’s lack of commitment for the second week in a row.

Adam Varcoe, one of the few bright lights for Geelong forward of the defence, continually contested, tackling players twice his size, eventually coming through for the Cats’ first goal for the game.

Corey Enright, acting captain for Geelong in Cameron Ling and Joel Corey’s absence, was playing a wonderful game down back, but that hardly needs be said. The man is simply incapable of putting in a poor performance.

When Mitch Morton crumbed a goal from the goal square the 6,000-strong crowd finally came alive, with the iconic blaring of car horns adding to the country-feel of the match.

Robin Nahas was busy early on, collecting lots of the ball through the midfield and setting up his teammates. A great contested mark by Jack Riewoldt positioned him perfectly to score Richmond’s third goal for the game.

Things were looking dire for Geelong.

“Geelong have got more chance of giving birth than scoring at the moment,” was Ben Casanelia’s assessment of the situation.

It took a few minutes for Geelong to discredit the claim, when David Wojcinski kicked a much-needed running goal. Podsiadly took a contested mark in Geelong’s first consecutive attacks for the day, but failed to capitalise. Richmond went into quarter time a goal up.

The second quarter started with a bit of a surprise in the K-Rock commentary box, with Bomber Thompson taking the reins. He was free as Brenton Sanderson was calling the shots in the coaches’ box for this game. Bomber would not have done his chances of becoming a commentator any good, as not only did he refer to Richmond players as “Number 15” or “The Tigers Player”, but he let his excitement get away with him every time Geelong got near the ball.

“And Podsiadly will mark it! He doesn’t.”

Both teams were more than happy to turn the ball over at the start of the term, with neither making a solid effort to attack. Geelong finally made a breakthrough, only to score a behind.

Chapman had put in a strong first quarter, but took a back seat as youngsters Adam Varcoe and Steve Motlop got things going for the Cats. No goals were added to the tally, but Motlop and Varcoe tackled and won the ball, only to have teammates let them down further up the field.

Matthew Scarlett was resilient in defence as players went missing around him. Ottens missed an easy shot from 15 metres out in what was to be the last attack for a while.

The commentary team at K-Rock kept throwing over to Andrew Bews as he interviewed the crowd, to try to break the tedium of a quiet quarter.

Finally Richmond broke the deadlock and scored through Relton Roberts and Nahas, who was clearly best-on-ground to half time.

Ottens missed another shot on goal in a deplorable performance. The coaches had not been impressed with his performance to quarter time, saying he was lazy and was not leaving the goal square to win the footy. He did not improve as the game went on, picking up only four disposals for the day. It was a different style of game for Ottens, who played full-forward all day, with Geelong’s key forwards in Mooney and Hawkins missing. He had not one foray into the ruck.

Riewoldt kicked another goal just before the end of the quarter, after players from both teams were taken out in a failed marking contest by a Richmond player. At the main break, the Tigers were comfortably in front, 6.4.40 to Geelong 2.4.16. The Inside-50 count was 27 to 15.

Richmond showed no signs of burning out, starting the third term with a goal to Hislop. This was quickly followed by goals to Riewoldt and Morton.

Despite Richmond’s goals, the game was still unimpressive. Geelong showed a gross disrespect to the NAB Cup Challenge, failing to lift their efforts or involve themselves more in the game. It couldn’t be any clearer that Richmond were going for the jugular and Geelong were just going to let them.

Podsiadly was not taking his chance to prove himself as a player with Geelong’s three main forwards sitting the game out. He at least presented up forward, occasionally marking, but failed to goal. He, like the vast majority of the Geelong outfit, was having a game to forget.

As poorly as Geelong were playing, Richmond still couldn’t be made to look polished, with most of the football being played in the centre of the ground, both teams failing to maintain possession.

Graham Polak briefly livened things up with a goal, before the K-Rock commentators made the executive decision that musing on the origins of Allen Christensen’s nickname “Bundy” was more enthralling than calling the game at hand.

Nahas closed the quarter with a snap at goal, giving Richmond a 54-point advantage at the final change. Geelong had not kicked a goal since the 17-minute mark of the first term.

Deciding that something needed to be done to save Geelong from complete embarrassment, Bomber Thompson took over the helm for the final quarter.

When the Tigers got the first goal for the term, the game was finally put out of reach. Moments later Riewoldt took a screamer and followed up his superb effort with a goal.

While Richmond weren’t slowing down, for Geelong it seemed to be a matter of “how long?” until they turned the ball over every time it came into their possession.

Finally, the Cats’ best move of the day – Thompson to the Coaches’ Box – paid off, with quick goals to Travis Varcoe and Paul Chapman. First-gamer Jesse Stringer followed soon after, posting a goal with one of his first possessions.

When Podsiadly finally started making the most of his opportunities, it was four-in-a-row for the Cats, and the scoreline was already looking a little more respectable.

Christensen was playing himself into form after an appalling first half, having notably set up Chapman’s goal, while Nahas appeared to have gone missing. The result, however, was never in any doubt.

When Podsiadly marked and goaled for Geelong, his second, it was to be Geelong’s last for the day.

Indignant that their 11-goal lead had been eaten away, Richmond quickly responded when Adam Varcoe turned an easy shot at goal into a miscued pass to his brother, Travis. Riewoldt scored his fifth in this coming of age match directly from the turnover. Moments later Morton marked strongly and kicked his third for the day.

Game over.

Richmond  15.12.102

Geelong  7.9.51

Goals: Rich – Riewoldt 5, Morton 3, Nahas 2, Roberts, Taylor, Hislop, Polak, *unknown* (I apologise, they didn’t actually say the name on radio, it was just “Another goal to Richmond!”).

Geel – Podsiadly 2, A. Varcoe, Wojcinski, T. Varcoe, Chapman, Stringer.

Best: Rich – Riewoldt, Morton, Tambling, Nahas, Deledio, Cousins

Geel  – Chapman, Scarlett, Enright, A. Varcoe

Injuries: Geel – Tom Allwright (knee)

Reports: Nil.

About Susie Giese

Born into the worship of the mighty Hoops, Susie has turned to adopting a Zen-like state during games in recent years to preserve her heart. The Cats of 2015 have the ol' ticker a-racing, though!


  1. The fact that you wrote a report of a practice match off the radio speaks volumes Susie, well done. Great report, sorry about the result though. Are Geelong really crap this year or they just worried about injuries and player welfare in the pre-season? I mean, you lost to Richmond. By 51 points.

  2. I was listening to the broadcast as well via streaming as I am out of range of K-Rock, I thought the commentary was dreadful – they seemed to be much more interested in what was going on when Geelong has the ball. Great report, not sorry about the result though.

  3. Thanks Josh :-)

    Richmond were two players short of being full strength, we were eleven short. That’s half our team missing. But besides that, Richmond had more determination and direction.

    We were missing our forward line, our no. 1 ruckman played FF all day, two key defenders were out. But there is no excuse for producing the quality of footy that we did. We lacked any systems or processes or game plans. Our attitude was terrible.

    In the end, they just wanted it so much more. And it showed.

  4. Haha, Adam ;-p Sadly enough, this was not nearly as pro-Geelong as usual. Keep in mind, they really only broadcast to the Geelong region, so they are catering for a specific audience. That being said, I was ready to throw my radio out the window on several occasions were we’d miss up to three minutes of play because they were speaking to some random at the ground. Grrrr.

  5. nice Piece Susie :)
    i think it was a wise choice to leave ou all the big stars (Mackie, Hawkins ect)
    i know this sounds bad but i want my Boys to lose NOW! seriously the Preseason will not win you a Premiership and therefore my saying is-
    “save your batteries for the big stage boys!!!”


  6. Damian Watson says

    Great report Susie,

    Just wondering who heads the K-Rock commentary team? with Billy now at Triple M do they have any high profile callers?

  7. Well done Susie, great report.

    Im sad the cats lost, but all that matters is there right for the normal season. And its good to hear Pods kicked a couple

  8. 68-149, this is absolutely ridiculous

  9. Danni,
    That is what some of the experts think Geelong’s plan is: don’t peake in February, save it for September.

    These days the delightful K-Rock commentary team is made up of Anthony Mithen (former Richmond board memeber, probably the best caller), Ian Cohen, Darren Berry and Tom King. Ben Casanelia (aka Benny Cass) is the special comments and stats guy, and Andrew Bews, Mark Neeld and Tim McGrath are on special comments.

  10. Darren Berry as in the ex Victorian wicketkeeper? You can see the Geelong bias in the rest of the team.

  11. Hitchock kicked his 4th a supergoal. They were up by 90, but Ebert just replied with the 6th super goal of the game.

    Its 77-158

  12. comment 4-
    Susie, would it change you mind if the random at the ground was good-looking? lmaoo

  13. Again, K-Rock advertises they are the home of the Geelong Cats. Just like SA stations would be Adelaide/Port-Adelaide biased. But Mitho is genuinely a great caller, almost completely unbiased. If he does show any bias, it’s only a tiny bit towards Richmond, but he didn’t call today.

  14. West Coast have won the hitouts 40-9

  15. LoL, Danni. On radio, it doesn’t make much of a difference. And they were absolute charmers.

    Bewsy: He’s about 6’3″
    Guy from ground: You mentioned I’m 6’3″, you should see how tall I am when I’m lying down

  16. Nice report Susie, nice to see Jack stand up and kick 5.
    Go tiges. ;)

  17. 15- lmaoo still, its like having Luke Darcy intrude on radio during a match. now at that i would NEVER complain, Darcy is hot.

  18. When’s Michael gonna come on and show his appreciation?

  19. 17: Did anyone notice Darcy call Jarred Moore “Steven Moore” or something tonight?

  20. threre’s nothing worse than interrupted radio coverage.

    Final score: 2.8.14 80 to 4.19.8 158, highest scoring nab cup game in a while

  21. Sorry guys would love to stay and chat but gotta go read a few more chapters of Mockingbird. this book is annoying me lol. Cyas

  22. Damian Watson says

    Has anyone heard Luke Dary call the match on Triple M yet? it would be intresting if he has a similar style to the netball.

  23. I think St Kilda v Sydney tonight has to be up their as the best match of the NAB Cup so far.

    Lol Michael probably has no idea you guys are going to the game tomorrow, he would probably be free to go as well.

  24. interesting fact- Port’s last 3/4 Nab cup games have produced 65,56 and 78 point wins

  25. lol yeah, is he on facebook now?

  26. He was..

    I’ll just do what happened last time..

    “I wish Michael would come back on the Almanac, i miss his arguments”

    Now he should appear any minute..

  27. Gee, you have to rethink about the Western Bulldogs – Port Adelaide game on Friday night. The Power have been the most impressive side of the NAB Cup so far. I expect a high-scoring, free-flowing game.

  28. They said on SEN It’s at AAMI…

  29. Bad news,Morton could have a serious knee injury for the Dees. He hobbled off the ground late in the game today after being hit hard in a contest.

  30. Just think, we could have the eye-pleasing Western Bulldogs v St Kilda NAB Cup Grand Final..

    OR, a Fremantle and Port Adelaide Grand Final..

  31. 28: It is at AAMI Stadium..

  32. Oh ok, I wasnt sure if it was going to be. If West Coast won it wouldve been at the Dome, oh I see.

    Yeah, I still reckon it’ll be Bulldogs v st.Kilda, but the home ground advantage for Port could see a Port V St.Kilda final

  33. 32: Ahem..North Melbourne will most likely be playing St Kilda..

  34. No, not a Port V North final! lol.

  35. Hey, remember the last two North v Port games? They were classics.

    Maybe we should switch back to Adam’s article, it’s not very polite to talk all over Susie’s.

  36. I wouldnt call the Round 22 one a classic, but it did have a good finish.

    I dunno, im sure susie wouldnt mind.

    its Sad about Morton

  37. Yeah i read about Morton earlier.

    Did you get the dollar credit Steve?

    Take photos of tomorrow’s game if you take a camera Damo or Steve..

  38. I might bring a camera, I was gonna bring one today but I couldnt cos my dad bought it to my sisters bday party.

    Yes, thanks for the dollar mate

  39. No worries, i’ll give you a call at half time tomorrow. I’ll be listening to the game so i’ll know when that is. If i don’t call, you know why lol.

  40. Damian Watson says

    Yeah the Round 22 match was a dour struggle with weather similar to the conditions in Alice Springs on Friday night.

    Yeah that is a shame about Morton, gee the Chileans have copped a massive earthquake.

  41. why? cos of your thing with talking on the phone?

  42. 41: Yeah

    I wanna see a Fremantle – Port Adelaide NAB Cup Grand Final just for the sake of it lol. I wonder how many would turn out for that match, 20,000 at the most.

  43. Damian Watson says

    Where would it be held at Subiaco or AAMI stadium?

    I suppose it depends on the margins within the semi finals.

  44. Probably AAMI coz the Power has thrashed both opponents so far.

  45. really? poor chileans!

    Apparently at one end the ground was underwater yesterday night.

    so Damo, 4:30 between the station and the ground? Ill probably be there at 4:15 or something

  46. 16,000 were at Subiaco tonight- not bad

  47. Damian Watson says

    Yeah I might be their at 4:15 as well, I’ll let you know by text in regards to the train etc.

    Anyway I’m off cya guys.

  48. cya Damo.

    I didn’t ask Danni if she wanted to come tomorrow, well if she does, i know shell turn up

  49. Cya. You guys better barrack for North tomorrow!

  50. I won’t be barracking for anyone really, but ill certainly appreciate both sides

  51. Is Pavlich playing? He isn’t on the Match Centre teams..he might be a Sub..

  52. dont pay attention to the match centre teams- they just randomly place them, but they update to the real teams about 40 mins before the match starts

  53. Richard Naco says

    Nice report, Susie.

    I actually listened to K-Rock’s call of this game up here in the Botany Bay wilderness (in AFL terms, at least), and it was the first time I’ve tuned in to them for a live call (via streaming). I can’t watch the DVD of the 2009 GF with any other commentary any more, and I thought their call of this game was outstanding – I certainly spent most of it with a smile on my dial (when I wasn’t actually laughing out loud).

    K-Rock isn’t for the purist wanting a good balanced & informative description of the game. They are a Geelong radio station, bringing Geelong games for a Geelong audience. A very strong Geelong bias is therefore inevitable and understandable, but I was impressed that despite their inherent leaning towards the Pivotonians, their treatment of the opposition went nowhere near being either ignorant nor disrespectful.

    And I thought that their call of this game was brilliant. Their broadcast ‘booth’ encapsulated the whole day: the main team being on the back of a ute on one of the half forward flanks, with their view of the ground partially blocked by a gum tree. How outstanding is that!!! I also thought that Mark Thompson’s ‘calls’ were entirely in keeping with the core values of a K-Rock commentary – of course he’d be focused on Geelong rather than the other team. I was pretty impressed that he was laid back enough to do it in the first place, and I found myself admiring his attitude all the more for having such a healthy perspective of this game. We could all name several other AFL coaches (past and present) who would have been so wound up and focused on what was basically just an extended training session that they wouldn’t have had the gumption to join in as he did.

    As for the actual Game: I thought that both teams achieved exactly what they wanted from this game. Just as Hawthorn basically threw the game against the Doggies on Friday night, we had one team that needed to win & one that had its eyes firmly fixed on the long term prize. Richmond needed to win in order to give their supporters some hope to cling to, and more power to them for doing really well. Geelong needed to blood kids & avoid injuries to key players, and although this meant that their systems and combinations were shambolic for almost all of this game (to say the least), their core objectives were achieved.

    The K-Rock commentary team were right on to this from the get-go. Their almost universal pre-game predictions were for a large Richmond victory (the lone dissenter was very obviously playing to his audience), and during the game they arrived at the collective conclusion that Geelong will basically be very average for up to the first third of the ‘real’ season. As they should: Carlton’s winning the pre-season a few years back was very quickly forgotten when they won the the wooden spoon in the crunch time of the year.

    Wearing my Pivotonian bias loudly and proudly, Geelong’s pre-season is actually giving me enormous confidence that they have their eyes fixed on the only truly relevant prize & a very viable and comprehensive plan to once more be a major factor on the last Saturday in September. Richmond’s focus is very much on slowly but surely turning their decline around, and just as you can’t chuck wheelies around the rim of a five cent piece, it will take them a bit of time for their to achieve their goals. Both clubs’ coaching staffs are to be commended for their long term vision.

    K-Rock’s call of a silly season spektarkle certainly made a quiet Saturday arvo in Sydney all the more enjoyable. Even more so for that utterly surreal advert for a *Geelong* car yard featuring Ablett & Lingy that kept cropping up during the ad breaks (although that other one featuring the horrible singing started to rapidly wear thin)!!!

  54. Richard,

    Beautifully said. I absolutely agree with everything you said, I was just trying to be a bit fair to opposition fans tuning in: they may not have enjoyed it so much.

    But I think K-Rock keep all their calls highly entertaining. Some of my favourites from the Grand Final?

    “This is as bad as sitting in the middle of the Geelong Cheer Squad!”
    (someone mentions Tomahawk winning the army award) “As Hitler would say, what is the Army Award?”
    “He’s arguing the point! He’s lucky not to be up on charges!”

    And I know what you mean about it being the only commentary you can listen to for the GF. Occasionally I listen to the TripleM one, simply because I think it is the most polished call, but only the K-Rock commentary still gets my heart racing, and makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Their sheer enjoyment and enthusiasm makes sure every call is unforgettable.

    p.s. I was ready to strangle Ruth and Murray from Wombat Gully Plant Farm by the end of the call – I’ve never heard such a dreadful parody of a beloved club song. It was just cringe-worthy.

  55. I need to make a couple of ammendments to my article:

    1. The unknown goaler at the start of the fourth quarter was Chris Newman.

    2. Riewoldt actually got only four goals. The last goal of the second quarter was in fact taken by the Almanac’s own Daniel Jackson. On K-Rock one caller had said Jackson, then another started talking about Riewoldt goaling, so I thought it was Jack Riewoldt, and that K-Rock had pulled a Triple M (who often add extra syllables to a player’s name, e.g. “Brad Ottens” becomes “Bradley Ottens” – thus making “Jack Riewoldt” “Jackson Riewoldt”)

  56. Ruth and Jamie*, I got Wombat Gully confused with Chris and Marie (I had originally typed Ruth and Marie, before realising both were girls’ names, then thought it must have been Ruth and Murray. But now I’ve remembered it properly :D)

  57. great report susie, go tiges!, i was going to go to yea, but thought we were going to get smashed- i was wrong. From what ive heard, the ground was great

    reference to the “understrength side”, geelong had 11 premiership players- we had 1 :)

    But overall you did have plenty of stars out, which weren’t matched on the field

    Like the look of Travis Varcoe though, he will be the breakout midfielder for you guys this year i believe

  58. Dom,

    Touché. But in footy it’s all about team balance. This was not a group of players who were used to playing together. Having 3 star players out is enough to upset team balance, no one would be expected to win with 11 out (12, if you include the Harley’s retirement). Geelong was nowhere near their full strength, but Richmond was pretty darn close to theirs.

    I was also gonna go to Yea. Pretty darn happy that I didn’t now.

    Travis Varcoe is improving in leaps and bounds, and though “lightyears ahead” of his brother Adam, I can’t help but feel Adam had much more of an impact yesterday. They are the exact same type of player, so provided Adam can bulk up plenty in the next 12 months, he and Travis will be competing for the same spot next year.

    That being said, it would be interesting to see both the Varcoes on the forward flanks. They look identical, baring muscle size, and the play almost identically. Adam has all Travis’ talent, but is more committed and more ferocious than his older sibling. Scary thought.

    If Ablett goes, I can see Travis taking his place in the midfield. He is nowhere near as talented, no one is, but he could play the same role amiably.

  59. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says

    Also caught part of the K Rock call via streaming on the internet here in Abu Dhabi…
    Loved the fact that the one end of the ground was referred to as the General Store end – was the other end called?
    My mate was a Cats fan so he wouldn’t listen with them so far behind.

  60. The only thing that kept me listening was the fact I’m trying to keep a written record of every game this year. If I wanna be a journo, not only do I need to get around to learning how to write one of these days, but I have to listen to/watch the whole game. This one was painful.

    The other end was the Pub end or something like that ;-p

  61. Richard Naco says

    Yep: it was the pub end, and the Cats used the local fire station as their changing rooms. It was a classically idiosyncratic and o-so-purely-Strine commentary.

    I would have thought that if you want to be a journo, Susie, it would be important to also document one non-Cats game, and one game/ meeting of a sport other than AFL each week as well.

    Based on our deep & meaningful relationship of three paragraphs a week ;), you’re intelligent, articulate and passionate. What you need to be able to do is translate those abilities in to as wide a range of topic areas as possible in order to develop as many strings to your bow as you can.

    We are also lucky enough to have a plethora of superb scribes in our company here, and I am sure that were you to email them privately, some of them would be willing to mentor you further in your quest.

    Go the Pivot!

  62. Could have had a less graceful name than the “General Store End” or the “Pub End”. How about the CWA Tent End? The Pasture End?

  63. Indeed, go the Pivot!

    I have started attempting documenting other games, but it’s usually just a few scribblings. I try so hard to keep up with all the names, faces and styles of play, I often miss key parts of the game. I only really started watching non-Geelong games last year, but that was often as I was doing homework.

    Hopefully I can change that this year.

    Thank-you so much for the advice, I will definitely take it on board :-) The ultimate goal, though, is to work for the Geelong Advertiser: that will see me prettily confined to reporting on Geelong games. And yes, that is a cop out ;-)

  64. It was country footy, Adam. K-Rock are nothing if not authentic ;-)

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